Southborough Church of England Primary School

Southborough Church of England Primary School

Read Write Inc.

What is Read Write Inc?

Read Write Inc. (RWI) is a government approved, systematic, synthetic phonics scheme which teaches children:

  • the sounds that make up the English language,
  • the letters that represent those sounds, and
  • how to form the letters when writing.

Read Write Inc. Phonics includes reading books written using only the letters they have learnt at each level (and a small number of separately taught tricky/red words). This helps our children to quickly feel confident and successful in their reading learning journey.


What order are the sounds taught in?

The English language is made up of 44 different sounds (phonemes) however the English alphabet only has 26 letters. This means letters need to be combined to make all the different sounds. In addition, the English language often has different ways of writing a single sound. As such there are over 150 different ways (graphemes) of writing the 44 sounds. This makes learning to read and spell a complex journey. Using a systematic scheme such as RWI breaks this learning journey into manageable steps:

  • Set 1 sounds  - see attachment below
  • Set 2 sounds -  see attachment below
  • Set 3 sounds -  see attachment below
  • Additional sounds - see attachment below

We start teaching Set 1 sounds at the beginning of Reception, and most children will have learnt Set 2 by the end of Reception and be able to spot and blend them within words.

During Year 1 the majority of children will learn to recognise Set 3 sounds and be able to spot and accurately blend these sounds in words. By the end of the year the additional sounds will be recognisable to the majority of Year 1 children.


How do I ensure I am pronouncing the sounds correctly?

It is really important to say the sounds clearly to help your child learn them. When pronouncing 'm' we say ‘mmmm’ not ‘muh’ and for 'l' we say ‘lllll’ not ‘luh’. This really helps children to hear the word when sounds are blended together. 

The following video and documents can be used to check pronunciation.

How do sounds become words?

The RWI scheme uses a toy frog called Fred to introduce the idea of joining (blending) sounds together to make words. As soon as a child knows the first five sounds, then he or she is ready to start hearing and then reading words.

Fred can only say the sounds in a word and needs the children to help him read the word. Fred will say the sounds and children will work out the word. For example, Fred will say the sounds c–a–t, and children will say the word cat. This is Fred Talk: sounding out the word.

As the children gain confidence recognising sounds on the page then they will be encouraged to start using Fred-in-your-head. This is silent (or whispered) Fred Talk, which helps to internalise the blending process.

When does RWI introduce story books?

Once children can recognise Set 1 sounds and are able to Fred Talk words using these sounds then they are ready to start Red RWI story books.

The RWI scheme progresses through Red, Green, Purple, Pink, Orange, Yellow, Blue and Grey story books, with aligned Get Writing books. Children usually complete RWI during Year 2.

RWI Home Reading Books.

Whilst children are learning to read through the RWI scheme they will bring home a weekly RWI reading book which is aligned to the book they have been studying that week.

  • This starts from Red level and continues through to Grey level. 
  • Your child should be able to read most of the book to you as it aligns to the sounds they have been learning that week. However, as it is not normally exactly the same story they may need a bit of help. Try "Can you spot any special friends? Can you Fred Talk the word?
  • Try to read the book more than once with your child as this will help them to increase their fluency.
  • Chat about what is happening in the story and why as this helps to develop your child's comprehension skills. Many of the books have questions to talk about at the back of the book. 

Children in Reception will bring home RWI Sound blending books before they start on Red story books.

Additional Informtion.